Getting to know Dr. Melanie Hopwood Simpson, C’86

Getting to know Dr. Melanie Hopwood Simpson, C’86

Dr. Melanie Hopwood Simpson graduated from the KCKCC Nursing Program in 1986 with an Associate of Arts in Nursing. Dr. Simpson has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Nursing and Human Relations, a Master’s degree in Health Services with a focus in Community Health and a Doctoral Degree in Health Administration. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing. 

She is the Team Coordinator for the Pain Management Resource Team at The University of Kansas Hospital. It is a nurse-run, inpatient, pain management consult service. In this position, she consults on all types of pain management issues including acute, post-operative and persistent/chronic pain syndromes. She has worked in pain management full-time for over 23 years, starting as Nurse Coordinator for Cancer Pain Management and moving inpatient to begin the Pain Management Resource Team in 2001. Dr. Simpson is nationally certified in Pain Management, Oncology, Hospice, and Palliative Nursing and is a Certified Pain Educator.

What led you to attend KCKCC?

I had been transferred to Kansas City with a job and I was no longer happy in the position.  Some of the people who came into the place I worked were in nursing school at KCKCC and could not say enough great things about it. I had thought of going to nursing school a few years earlier, but the time was not right.  I investigated KCKCC and another community college in the area and I found that KCKCC had a significantly higher passage rate of the state boards, so I quit my current job, acquired a new job as a waitress, so I had flexible hours for school and never looked back.

What was your next move after completing classes at KCKCC?

I started a nursing position in oncology nursing at a local hospital at a good salary with great benefits and kicked off a long nursing career that I am grateful for every day.

Dr. Simpson Working at her first nursing position as an Oncology Nurse at St. Joseph Health Center in 1987

How has KCKCC Impacted your career and/or life?

Attending KCKCC completely changed the trajectory of my life. I was able to work and go to school and graduate without any debt (I wish I would have known about the scholarships available). Nursing has offered me so many wonderful opportunities over the years. I tell anyone who will listen, that community college is the way to go, tremendous return on investment.

Did you have a favorite class or professor at KCKCC?

Anatomy – I can’t remember my instructor’s name, but she was wonderful! She knew how important that class would be to us in the years to come and she made sure we were prepared.

Dr. Simpson with her American Nurses Credentialing Center’s 2012 National Magnet Nurse of the Year for Exemplary Professional PracticE award.

If you are or ever have donated to or volunteered for KCKCC, why do feel it is important to give back?

My husband and I feel our education has shaped our life and provided a great lifestyle, so we want to share that opportunity with others. 

What advice would you give to current KCKCC students?

Enjoy every minute of it and please take it seriously.

dr. simpson receiving The University of kansas medical center 2016 honorary nursing alumna award.

Why do you feel schools like KCKCC (Community Colleges) are important?

They provide an excellent educational foundation to start your career or to continue it.

What do you hope for the future of KCKCC?

I hope that KCKCC will get the recognition it deserves as a leader in the region for providing outstanding education for students of all ages.

2 thoughts on “Getting to know Dr. Melanie Hopwood Simpson, C’86

  1. I met Dr.Simpson in 2019 during in interview for a scholarship named SUROP. The conversation I engaged with among Dr.Simpson and her colleagues changed my life and the belief systems I held concerning my own success as a minority. I am very thankful for this experience and wish this woman nothing but the best!

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